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tv   Your Business  MSNBC  October 8, 2017 4:30am-5:00am PDT

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good morning. coming up on msnbc's "your business," the owner of this body cam company joined forces with law enforcement to come up with a product that helps them do their jobs. how the woman who owns this jewelry company is helping the homeless get back on their feet. plus, neil blumenthal of warby parker with some insight on what you can do to hold onto your best employees. let's grow fast, and work smart. that's coming up next on "your business." "your business" is sponsored by american express open, helping you get business done. hi, everyone, i'm j.j.
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ramberg and welcome to "your business." the show dedicated to helping your growing business. over the past five years the business of body cams has grown significantly. and as we've seen in the news recently, body cams have played an important role for police forces around the country. today we meet the man behind body cams who's worked diligently with law enforcement to come up with products that help them do their job. >> open the door! >> when los angeles based wolfcom enters the police body camera space in 2011, the little known company quickly became a industry leader. >> at the time, there were only two other competitors. we were the big three in the united states. >> reporter: founder peter onruang is the force behind the booming business that built its reputation on technological innovations. >> our phones were ringing off the hook. we did very little marketing. it's just like money am coulding in. the other two competitors. they had no gps. no night vision.
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we were the first to introduce a high quality video. >> hands down. >> reporter: but four years after peter launched wolfcom's first camera, his world came to a crashing halt. >> one of our competitors decided how can i destroy this company? and basically they just told me that hey you know what, we're going to bury you. i was in a meeting when one of my employees walked in and said you need to look at the news. we have no more software. our competitor just bought out the software company that we're using. >> reporter: software is critical to body cams for storing and managing videos. with no warning, wolfcom's software partner was acquired for $13 million by the biggest player in the industry. >> next thing you know all our customers started calling us, there are rumors that wolfcom was done. >> reporter: peter was blindsided by this devastating blow. at a complete loss for a viable solution. but the body cam industry had always been cutthroat and building wolfcom had not been uzi. >> hands up. >> reporter: when peter came up with the concept for the third
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eye body camera he was living out husband 007 dream, running a spy shop in hollywood. happened officers frequently stopped by. >> one particular officer kept coming back almost every day looking through every product we have. and he would always leave, empty handed. >> reporter: the ever curious peter had to ask, why in >> he says look at me. i have over 30 pounds of gear on myself. all over my body. if only you can just put a spy camera or put a camera into something that i'm already wearing. and that's when i took a look and i saw his lapel mic that they use to communicate. >> reporter: two years later the wolfcom third eye hit the market with a camera built right in the lapel mic that officers wear. >> we started putting a lot of ideas into this. including gps, night vision, the ability to the zoom in and out. >> open the door, please. shots fired. >> we came from that background of electronics, small cameras. that's how we were able to stay in the game. >> keep your hands where i can
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see them. >> every time there was a police shooting we'd also notice the spy cams failed. >> reporter: but the 2014 police shooting of an unarmed teenager named michael brown in ferguson, missouri, became a game changer for the body cam industry. >> suddenly everybody and their grandmother wanted in on this gold rush, on this gold mine. i knew that it would blow up to maybe 100 competitors. >> back up. >> reporter: this dramatic shift in the market, and the overnight saturation of other body cam start-ups, was not good for wolfcom. >> now we're competing with so many other competitors. trying to push ourselves up to the front. it got a lot harder. just to make a buck. >> reporter: there was also a major problem overseas. wolfcom body cameras became targeted by counterfeiters. peter had made the mistake of having one factory handle every part of the manufacturing and assembly. all it took was one untrustworthy employee and the wolfcom winning formula was out there for every competitor to see. >> you get people who just
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start, you know, no morals, no conscience. i mean we lost a huge field in other countries. i spent over $100,000 just on attorneys chasing people. >> reporter: after learning that harsh lesson, peter went to the other extreme. creating too many moving parts to the wolfcom manufacturing process. >> next you know we're dealing with up to 80 vendors, that we have inventory problems. you have everything except one piece, and there's a two month delay, but you've got a customer who ordered 1,000 units. when i did it that way, there's no copycat, but it is a pain in the butt. >> reporter: eventually peter fixed this, too. and by the time he lost his software partner in 2015, he had years of start-up wisdom under his belt. his resilience pushing through tough times and willingness to learn with every obstacle was about to pay off. >> i needed to evolve. i needed to go somewhere where i had never gone before. i need to step into the darkness. and turn it into light. so then i decided that wolfcom was going to evolve into a
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software company. and now today, i'm proud to say, we are a hardware, and a software company. >> reporter: the body camera business is now on track to become a billion dollar industry. making the competition even more fierce. some players have been accused of using unfair tactics to secure contracts. from cultivating close ties to police chiefs, to splurging on luxury vacations for other law enforcement decision makers. >> get yourself some cover. >> am i doing something wrong? >> yes, ma'am, you are now. >> reporter: and some police departments have also come under fire. approving a no bid process. which allows a single company to secure a body cam deal without facing any competition along the way. >> our model for wolfcom is honor, courage and integrity above all else. so we'll never stoop to that level. after 17 years of being in business i've learned something, no matter what, still here. you need to think of your life like an airplane. always going forward, never going back. you can't go backwards. >> hands up. hands to your side.
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>> how many times have you passed a homeless person on the street and wished that you were doing more to help them? well one los angeles woman decided to stop wishing, start a business, and dedicate herself to helping. nbc's morgan radford has her story. >> reporter: hope, strength, and -- >> create. >> reporter: words of encouragement stamped on keys and turned into jewelry. each key made by someone who hopes to one day have a reason to use it. how many people have you helped transition out of homelessness? >> we have gotten over 70-plus people job opportunities here. >> reporter: growing up in hollywood, caitlin crosby has worked as an actress and released pop music but was seeking a way to make a bigger impact. in 2009, after encountering a young homeless couple, a light went off. and she turned a simple jewelry idea into business with a big impact. >> i love that. >> reporter: today, the giving keys factory in downtown l.a.
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sits just a couple blocks from skid row. where some of l.a.'s 46,000 homeless reside. here, caitlin employs people trying to transition off the streets. and the keys they create are then sold under one condition. that the buyer gives their key to someone who needs it more. >> this isn't just about jewelry to wear because it's cool. it really trains you to keep your eyes open to somebody who is going through a hard time. >> reporter: people like kelly williams. >> doing drugs, so i've been productically everything you could think of. >> reporter: what was your ah-ha moment when you were at your lowest and said i can't live like this anymore? >> went to prison. practically every two years. i wanted something better for my life. >> reporter: and she found it. >> this is where the magic happens. >> reporter: at the giving keys, kelly works alongside people who not only understand her pain, but also the power of redemption. since you've been working here,
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you've been able to get other things and kind of come in to transitioning to have your own place. >> yeah. i did it in six months working. >> reporter: wait so you -- wait, wait, wait. back up. hold on holden hold on, so you're saying in six months of working here. >> my life will never be the same. just challenge me to just want to do good man for the rest of my life. >> reporter: which is exactly why experts say the giving keys could be a model for the rest of the country. >> they are saking men and women that have no other option, teaching them a marketable skill, teaching them to work in a team, teaching them to be proud of a product and services being delivered, and oh, by the way the giving key is making money doing this. >> reporter: so they're legit. >> they're legit. >> reporter: giving people like kelly williams a second chance. >> if you can just make an impact on one person, you know, that -- that's the best thing in the world. >> reporter: perhaps even the key to happiness. morgan radford, los angeles.
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>> it's one thing to sell your products to local consumers. it is another to sell to a major buyer with national distribution. here are five ways to attract big buyers. one, use data to show traction. buyers need to know that your product will sell. use data like website visitors, order numbers and press coverage to show how your product resonates with consumers. two, always have a pitch ready. you never know when you may meet someone who can help you out. keep your phone or tablet stocked with compelling images and charts. and have a fact sheet with all of your specs and contact information ready so that you can send it off at a moment's notice. three, attend trade shows or vendor days. these are great places to meet new buyers. make the most out of them by sending your most knowledgeable and upbeat employees. and if you have a booth, avoid leaving it so there's always someone around to answer a question. four, partner with a broker. sales brokers already have
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relationships with big buyers, and know how to get your product in front of the right people. but they also have reputations to protect. like the buyers, before they partner with you, they're going to want to make sure that your product will sell. five, make sure your product is ready to ship. if you do build a relationship with a buyer and then you can't fulfill it, that is going to lead to problems right then and later on. now it's time for our brain trust and today we're doing it from these amazing offices of warby parker here in new york city. today, we have neil blumenthal, who is the founder of warby parker now with more than 1300 employees and a valuation of more than $1 billion and jana rich the founder of the rich talent group who works with warby parker and air bnb and so many others to recruit talent. i want to talk to you guys about retention. you have 1300 employees here. i imagine you've had some
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turnover. >> over the years. >> is retention what we should be looking for as owners of companies, as people who run divisions of companies? what do you think? >> i think it's really important to assess who you are losing, and where your company is in terms of phase of growth. very fast growing companies who are morphing and changing dramatically are going to need different people. so i think we have to be careful toll retain the people we want to and not losing those that we don't. >> because people are always saying, you want high retention, right? it has been the mantra since the beginning of time of business, and it's -- i imagine the people you don't have your whole original team still working here. two of your founders aren't here. >> yeah, you know, i think it's important to have cultural carriers, and these folks that really exemplify the values as a company. and those folks don't necessarily need to have been here since the beginning. but, i degree with jana
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completely that if you don't want 100% retention. you want some turnover. you want people coming in with fresh skill sets, fresh perspective. and i think there's this idea that culture is static. and companies need to, you know, stay the same and everyone's nostalgic for the past. at the end of the day, companies evolve. and cultures evolve and change. and that's okay. just like real cultures evolve and change. right, america is different today than it was a generation ago. and these companies are, as well. >> so at what point do you look at your own company, your own division, and say, okay, i am losing people too quickly, versus, i am losing people at the right speed because the company or the division is changing. >> well, i think the reason why people are leaving, right, is people are leaving because they don't see growth opportunities. if people are leaving because they feel like they're not getting paid well, those are things to dig in to. if people are leaving because,
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you know, you need to bring in somebody with more expertise, and that's actually changing their growth trajectory. that's okay. and hopefully they'll get a better opportunity elsewhere and will support them in that. and that's fantastic. >> i think it's also interesting to look at what pockets, and where is this happening. meaning, if all of a sudden you've got a lot of people leaving your marketing team, is there something wrong there? meaning do you have to look at the leadership of that team. is something going wrong? or four or five members of a ten person leadership team is leaving that has a huge impact on how the outside world views your company. those are two examples where you have to stop at least and say wait a minute, what's happening. >> let's talk about that. the outside world. so when companies go through periods of change, oftentimes a lot of people leave, either they're laid off or they leave themselves. how do you deal with the perception of that, when you're doing it because the company is actually moving forward, from the outside it may look like it's moving backwards?
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>> i mean at least what i would say about that is it's really interesting from our vantage point. we start to get a lot of inbound cous from very senior executives when something is not going right with a company. so i say we're always an early indicator if retention is going to be an issue. or if something is at least potentially wrong with the company. so if, for example, those are clients that we work with, let's give it a heads up. it will never say specific names of people, but you know, hey, there's a lot of people loose in your marketing team. it might be something you need to look at. so being able to have at least some sense of how that's being perceived externally, sometimes we can get in our own little bubble as entrepreneurs, that like we know why. but the outside world doesn't know why. >> and it has as the ceo, by the time that's happening, you're in a crisis mode. so the question is, what's your canary in the coal mine? and to our perspective, it's feedback, it's our performance management system. so we do things called month in
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review, so rather than having performance reviews once every twelve months or once every six months we actually do it every month so that way there is that direct feedback from direct reports, and managers, but even more important than that, we do an anonymous survey every six months. and we call it an employee engagement survey, and it's anonymous. we can only drill down to groups of five, to protect anonymity. but we can cut the data by gender, bip department, by tenure at the company, so we can really get a sense of what's going on and it's a commitment that we make to the team that we're all going to try and make this place better and better and better so if there are people that want to leave, hopefully the reasons for that start to emerge and we can address it. >> is retention a metric that you look at? is it an important metric that you look at? >> it's an important metric but i never found anybody that defines it really clearly. and i know that sounds crazy,
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but what is retention? is it coof people that start on "x" date, for how long they should actually be here? we're seven years old. we're now up to 1300 employees, the majority of whom have been hired in the past twelve months. our retention rate is really strange. so we actually don't measure that as closely as saying, hey, are we losing good people? for bad reasons? >> all right. thanks both of you so much. >> thank you. >> thanks. people, purpose, profits, and play. those are the four principles that guide business at the world's largest franchise gym. anytime fitness locations are open to members, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. the company's on the brink of having 4,000 locations in 30 countries, with revenue hovering right around $1 billion. co-founder chuck runyon tells us why business is always about
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people, and why we all need to play more in this learning from the pros. >> i love the quote that leaders don't build the business, leaders build people and the people build the business. sure you want to have a great idea. but then you got to hire the right people. and empower them to execute on the business. >> we place a great deal of emphasis on workplace culture. right, how we behave. what values we have on working together. and so we really are very rigorous through the hiring process. we tried to get out of the scripted interview process. we ask questions that really want to get into their self-awareness. right. some mistakes they made in the past. so we really kind of want to break that down through a very lengthy interview process. we want them to get on a wipe board and give us some of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. we will ask them to videotape themselves, put a powerpoint together, do a youtube video to
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show some of their personality. ♪ to give people greater purpose, i mean, it's like combining your heart power with your brain power, and they will go the extra mile, they'll work a little bit harder. and they know that they're enriching people, or the planet, beyond just the pay check. i think you have to be very intentional about it. when we're talking about strategy for the business, first of all, why are we trying to go there? and how does this benefit others? how are we improving stakeholders' lives? and with anytime fitness it's the members. right? we're getting them to a healthier place. ♪ everyone must profit in this business. of course, from a financial perspective, we're in the franchise business, so we have to make sure that our franchisees are set up to succeed. typically in franchising it's a percentage, so the more a franchisee does in revenue, the higher percentage we get. with anytime, our royalty is flat.
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so as they grow their business we're capped out at what we make and that is very rewarding to the franchisee financially. 50% of our franchisees are buying and opening more stores. i think that's a great testament to their success. we feel the same way about our employees. how can they come here and how can we develop the wholesale, invest in their personal growth so whether they're done with our company and look back and say, you know what snt company made me better too. we put a percentage of the annual revenue into a pool every year and this can fuel personal professional goals for our employees. we want to foster. this always learning. we want them to physically improve, mentally improve. i think companies could use a little bit more play in the workplace. seven out of ten people according to gallop arrive to work every day feeling miserable or emotionally neutral about their job. and to me that's a sad stat. we spend over half our waking hours at work at our all staff meetings, we have like new rookie exits, stupid human
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tricks they have perform. what that does is sets a tone we're all vulnerable and laugh at ourselves. for the annual coverage, we do a parody of very popular movies. like we've on "star trek" and "top gun" and "the hangover." walking around the office having a little sense of humor. being self deprecating and understanding that we can take the work very seriously without taking ourselves seriously. it's a science about play, validates that a company will be more curious and claptive. they'll be more creative and we value those as we try to grow the business. >> when we come back, most of us have millennials on our workforce, the question is how do you manage them? and how do you keep dealers and retailers happy when you're also selling products online?
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thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods. you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open.
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offer your vendors one offering, price promos and have a different set of offerings on the website in the direct consumer bar. >> millennials are transforming the workplace. maybe a unique per inspect bit of career path and where they'd like to work. so if you are an employer and looking to either hire them or retain them, our guest has some ideas on how to do that. he is a partner and research director at future workplace and executive development group. so good to see you, dan. i know so many people who are sort of like millennials, they don't work as hard or they want to go home early or asking for a raise all the time and sort of don't know quite what to do with it. you say it's relatively easy, you just have to look at things differently. >> the stereotypes always existed. young people always view older people as being wise and willing to mentor where older people always think younger people are
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lazy and entitled and narcissistic and not focused. >> so this is not a millennial thing this is a generational thing. >> it's about where you are in your life and how you're viewing people who are younger than you or older than you. >> indeed, there are things that we see the workplace as transforming for everyone, not just millennials. let's talk about millennials. they want fair pay. not necessarily higher pay, fair pay. >> yes. everyone from 16 years old to 65 years old wants more money. ook. whether they're looking to get a job or promoted a job, that factors into the equation. but it's really about fair pay, especially for young people. we asked so much information at our finger tips. we can pull out phones go, to pay scale and figure out how much we're supposed to be making at this point in our career based on our title. and people who are young are more likely to have trans parent discussions with their peers about how much money they're making at their same company or another company. >> by the way, i think as the hiring manager, what you do is you go look at those also and show here is our scale.
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here is where you fit on it. here's why. you need to explain to people so they get expectations back up. >> absolutely. back then you just would never have these discussions. now it's so important. if you don't pay someone fairly, can you offer them a ping-pong table, free food or anything and they're not working for the company. >> flexible work. we talk about this all the time. everyone does. companies let people work from home then brought them back in and everyone is dealing with this. >> there's no 9:00 to 5:00 workplace anymore. the average work week is 47 hours a week for full time salary employee and because of work decree and able to answer e-mails outside the office, people are working 24/7 for the same salary. >> so they want to be able to drop their kid off at school and come to work a little late. >> people want maternal, paternal leave, they want flexible hours and job share. >> not have to take the entire day off to go to the doctor's appointment. >> give them an extra hour lunch, as long as they're
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performing, it's about the results. >> got it. which means you have to be very clear about what the results are. right? so if you want to have a flexible schedule, like okay you need to perform to this level -- force. >> just like a promotion, make a case for everything. >> learning and development. it is not the case where people come to work and say i'm going o give that all to you. employees want to know that kbhp is investing in them as well. >> especially for young people. if you're not investing in the learning and development, they're not going to invest in time spent working at the company. the younger you are, the more learning and develop ment you need. you don't know very much. >> right. >> the older you get, the less likely you are to say that you need some extra training and support. >> we have will dean, a ceo of tough mudder on recently. and he has his whole staff do harper business school cases. and they love it. right? they learn a lot from it. he teaches them. even when they were a start-up they did this. >> people need to be challenged and constantly learn. if they're not, they're going to be bored and start looking for other opportunities which are right at their finger thipz.
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>> finally, i think this one is so important which is link your responsibilities to the impact. even if you are the person who is filing, you should know why that is important for the company. >> a lot of people get meaningful work wrong. they think a young person just wants to change the world on the job. that's not true. it's about linking the work that they're doing on a daily basis to something that is beneficial to their manager, to their team, to their ceo, to customers, to partners and maybe even the world. and if they can't see that linkage, they're not as engaged and more likely to quit. >> you're spending time here. you want to know that it makes a difference for something that matters within the company or the world. all right. dan, thank you so much. i really appreciate all the research you've done on this. >> happy to be here. >> this week's your biz selfie comes from he liz death davis-cerami who owns y'or so sweet. she loved cooking and created a business which makes sweet and safy crepes and crepe cakes like the one you see there.
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now, why don't you pick up your cell phone, take a picture of you and your business. no professional pictures, please. and send it to or tweet it to us. >> thank you so much for joining us today. earlier this week i heard a man speak to a group of ceos. he was one of a group of 16 people who survived a plane crash in the an disease for three months he lived up there in the snow with no boots or coats and no water and no food. he told us his storey. he is a very successful businessman. and what he was wanting us to get out of this is, look, business is hard. we're going to face hard things in business and in life. and we should face those things and we should be stressed about them, et cetera. but we all need to remember at the end of the day what is really important. and keep your eye on that as you go through these hard things in your business. hug the ones you love and remember that at the end of the day, that's what's important. don't forget your business. of course we need to grow our companies and we want them to be
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successful for a million reasons. but remember what is the most important which is the people that you love. now we would love to hear from you. if you have any questions or comments about today's show, e-mail us at we posted all of the segments from today's show and a lot more and connect with us on our digit and media platforms as well. we look forward to seeing you next time. remember, we make your business our business.
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good morning. welcome to "politics nation". puerto rico is slowly recovering after hurricane maria while president trump's visit to the island left many with a bad after taste. we'll hear from congressman luis gutierrez and reverend jesse jackson about the on going recovery. and congressman john lewis. now a senior voice of


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